Mary-Anne Szabaga, who taught Spanish at Junior High School 141 in Astoria, Queens, for 31 years before retiring to Montauk, died on May 30 at Southampton Hospital after a brief illness. She was 70.
Born in Astoria on Aug. 22, 1942, to Stephen Szabaga and the former Julia Opys, Ms. Szabaga graduated from Queens College in 1964, after which she spent weeks touring Europe with her best friend, Norma Giorgetti. An avid traveler, she spent many vacations and sabbaticals throughout her career exploring the world.
Ms. Szabaga appreciated and supported the arts throughout her life, her niece Allison Szabaga Cassese wrote. She took etching and painting classes, most recently completing three icon paintings. A season-ticket holder to the Metropolitan Opera in New York, she enjoyed the classics and rarely missed a performance. She was also a phenomenal cook, her family said. Whether a simple dinner for two or a large gathering, she was happiest sharing a meal with close friends and family. She was the keeper of the family recipes, eager to prepare and pass down the culinary heritage of her Polish ancestry.
After retiring to Montauk — her favorite vacation destination — 20 years ago, Ms. Szabaga was active in the community, serving as president of the local AARP chapter and chairwoman of the East Hampton Senior Citizens Advisory Board. She was a member of Guild Hall and a friend of the Montauk Library. Ms. Szabaga could often be found organizing a lecture or book sale or volunteering at Guild Hall during a performance. She had a love for all living things, her niece wrote, and cared for many plants, animals, and pets throughout her life.
In addition to Ms. Cassese and Ms. Giorgetti, Ms. Szabaga is survived by her brothers, Stephen Szabaga of Princeton, N.J., and Michael Szabaga of Westbury, as well as another niece, nephews, a great-niece and great-nephew, and many friends and acquaintances that were touched by her kindness and warmth, Ms. Cassese wrote.
Visiting hours were held on June 2 at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton. A funeral took place the following day at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Montauk, with Father Michael Rieder officiating. Burial followed at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, N.Y.
Her family has requested memorial donations to St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church, 67 South Essex Street, P.O. Box 5027, Montauk 11954, or the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons at arfhamptons.org.